Know Your Codes

Jan Morgan-Swegle, Editor

With the recent controlled burn turned wildfire, smoke from  Green Swamp Game Land in Supply caused roads to be closed and created air quality issues.  Officials estimated that the wildfire affected 16,000 acres of land.  Our quality of air was significantly impacted for several days.   The North Carolina Division of Air Quality issued a Code Red on June 16 for residents.   Neighboring counties, New Hanover and Pender were issued a Code Orange.

So, what does that mean?

According to the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, a Code Red on the Air Quality Index means that the air is unhealthy to breathe for all residents. They suggest that residents limit time outside and those with sensitivities to air pollution or with asthma or respiratory issues, should not go outside at all.

Code Orange says that the air is unhealthy for people that are sensitive to smoke.  That means, children or people with respiratory conditions  should reduce their time outside.  Healthy residents are less likely to be negatively affected.

The agency also says that if outside visibility is limited or hazy and the smell of smoke is strong, stay inside.   The air that you are breathing contains small particles of ash that can get into your system and aggravate lung conditions.

Be aware, know your air quality codes and stay healthy.